Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Help me, help you - the game

I have someone who wants to take two projects of mine to an intermediary who has access to Tiger Entertainment (not it's real name), a fairly big mini-studio who produce and/or distribute feature and TV movies. They have a list of several hundred movies on imdb, mostly what we used to call exploitation movies, ie: horror, action, suspense thrillers.

This would be a perfect place for Ghostkeeper 2. But it wasn't the first choice.

I know a producer whom I'll call JR, who likes a few of my specs and who routinely puts one or two of them in one of his famous "packages". But his packages rarely get picked up. In fact none of them ever have.

But JR is tenacious. He used to be an agent so still has connections and one thing I've learned in this town, even a bad connection is better than none.

Now JR knows Morey, who is more productive than JR and who can take scripts into smaller distribs, sometimes even the majors. Over the week-end JR emailed me that he was sending Deadhead, a screenplay which seems to be JR's favorite. It's set on a jetliner that suddenly veers off towards the northern Pacific Ocean.

Tiger has a department that specializes in $1 million movies.

Deadhead is a relatively easy film to make as 90% is in a jetliner, in reality a mock-up that already exists here in Hollywood and can be rented for a good price as it's only good for airline movies.

I don't mind that JR shows Morey Deadhead, BUT... I want two more things; I want to meet Morey personally and I want to get  him to take Ghostkeeper 2 to Tiger as well. And this is where help me/help you enters the game.

Every producer wants to keep his/her connections to him/herself. After all someone like me could come in and establish a relationship with that connection and eventually will cut out whomever introduced them.

In other words, JR doesn't want me to meet Morey because then Morey doesn't need JR anymore. And he's probably right, knowing JR's record, I'd rather talk with Morey. There are a few ways to settle this and it's all based on one thing;

I own the screenplays.

If there's one thing writers have that nobody can argue with is that the screenplay they have is all theirs, at least until a deal is made, then you lose it. In most European countries and even Canada, the writer always retains copyright. But not the U.S., you lose your copyright to the studios who buy it "in perpetuity and throughout the universe". Really.

So my deal with JR is this; show both scripts to Morey who will show them to Tiger Ent. who then might decide to make one, or two, or neither.

There's a lot of if's and maybe's in this business.

And I have a lot more contacts than JR and Morey, but I court them all, sort of like Warren Beatty in Shampoo, and hope that I don't mix up names with projects or outlive my  presence.

My deal with JR is that, both projects and I meet Morey. And if anything does come from it, a fee and a credit as Exec Producer. That's why you see so many Exec Producer credits on movies, each of them is probably one person who helped the producer and/or director get one step further in financing their movie.

It was easier in "the old days", meaning up to 2003, because there were still lots of markets, VHS was over but DVD sales were huge. Now, with the potential for streaming to the average TV viewer, DVD is slowly getting smaller and smaller.

But the only way is to reinvent your methods and continue to search for anyone who can either give you money or knows someone who can.

And they are still out there.

Wish me luck.

(Thurs: Results)